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‘Mamata Amma’

Tuesday, 20 July 2021 | Pioneer

For the first time, the Bengal CM is planning a massive outreach in States across the country

Fresh from her landslide victory in this year’s West Bengal Assembly polls, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress boss Mamata Banerjee is planning to flex her political muscles and take her national ambitions one step closer to fructifying these. In a first, she is likely to deliver her annual Martyrs’ Day address on July 21 from the Constitution Club in New Delhi. In another unprecedented step, she has made massive plans to reach out to people across the country by telecasting the translations of her speech in various languages across different States. Adding a new touch to the annual address, a large part of her speech is expected to be in Hindi. Arrangements are already being made to stream the speech on giant screens across, of course, West Bengal and, for the first time, in States like Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Punjab, Tripura and poll-bound Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. It’s no secret that having humbled the BJP’s victory machine at the hustings in her home State, Mamata’s plan is for her party to fan out in other States and build a solid base for the mass leader there.

The Chief Minister’s nephew and Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek Banerjee, soon after taking charge as the party’s all-India general secretary, had vowed to spread the TMC’s wings in other States. He did not beat around the bush: “This time, we will go to other States not just to fight elections but to win them.” In Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s home turf of Gujarat, where Assembly elections are due next year, the TMC would air Mamata’s speech on giant screens in all the 32 districts. Another interesting target is Tamil Nadu, where graffiti and posters projecting Mamata as “Mamata Amma”, part of the sobriquet attached to late AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa, have come up as the party makes its first foray to spread its footprint in the southern States. With most of the Opposition parties in the country out on a limb, she hopes to emerge as a consensus leader of a united Opposition to take on the BJP in the 2024 general elections; especially with speculation rife that Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar — who would have been a strong contender for that position — might settle into the President’s House after the term of incumbent Ram Nath Kovind gets over in July 2022.

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